I called my blog ‘sunflowers and shutters’ because they are a few of the images embedded in my heart when I think of southern France. In my 6 months there I actually never saw any sunflowers but I did yesterday, not in Provence but in the beautiful Napa Valley, California.

Eating a delicious lunch at the stunning Farmstead Restaurant, just outside charming St Helena, savouring all the fresh flavours, handpicked that morning from the restaurant’s organic garden,

Sipping my favourite bold, oakey, buttery and I realize very passé Californian Chardonnay (a deliciousness you can only get here!) – with special friends, I remembered why we moved to California so long ago.

Things I love in Provence, the lavender, the vineyards, the sunflowers, all basking under azure blue skies, well they are here too………

True, no shutters or medieval streets, 1874 was as old as it got yesterday, (but still impressive!), it really gives you pause for thought!

The lush and bountiful vineyards of the Napa Valley, flanked either side by the rolling golden Californian hills are just a 45 minute drive from my Californian home.

As I sat there discussing plans to visit Carmel, another very much beloved Californian stunner, I could see my lovely daughter’s smiling face……”Yes Mummy it is pretty special here!” It doesn’t in any way dilute my passion for those ancient cobbled streets guarding their age old secrets between the shutters. Neither can that unique beguiling atmosphere be found here, it belongs there………

but where do I belong……….?
What a question to ponder, I’ll keep you posted!!!